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Rookie Report: Khalil Mack's Plan to Succeed in His First NFL Season

Oakland Raiders rookie linebacker Khalil Mack returned home to Fort Pierce, Florida before reporting to training camp in Napa, Calif., but he didn’t spend his time relaxing in the sun.

To prep for his first NFL season, the 6’3”, 250-pounder picked the brains of veterans like Ike Taylor and teammate Justin Tuck to learn about defensive coverages and techniques, but he also followed a daily regimen to keep his body in prime condition. Mack says he prefers to spend his few minutes of down time with his family, but football remains a central theme.

“I let them watch film with me and break it down to tell them what’s going on,” the 23-year-old says. “It’s just another part of my preparation.”

Khalil Mack of the Oakland Raiders participates in drills during Rookie Minicamp in May in Alameda, California.

Khalil Mack of the Oakland Raiders participates in drills during Rookie Minicamp in May in Alameda, California.

7 a.m.

Mack starts his day with a warm, hearty breakfast of bacon and grits or oatmeal, or his favorite cold option, Rice Krispie Treats cereal. “Nothing super heavy, but I try to eat enough to fuel my body,” he says.

9 a.m.

As he digests, Mack hits the books. “I go over film and look at my notes that I’ve taken and figure out how I can apply them in my training throughout the rest of the day,” he says.

11 a.m.

Mack’s first workout of the day is in the gym, where he alternates his days between upper and lower body exercises depending on the focus of his second workout.

2 p.m.

“I go do some kind of field work based on what I’ve learned since I’ve been at Oakland, and what the coaches want me to work on,” Mack says. But at home in the Sunrise City, he takes his agility drills to the beach. “You really have to lift your legs to control your body in the sand,” he says. 

UB's Mack against Stony Brook in September 2013.

UB's Mack against Stony Brook in September 2013.

4 p.m.

After back-to-back training, Mack grabs a smoothie or protein shake like Muscle Milk, or a quick, balanced meal like Chipotle. “Something that will help me recover fast and bring my muscle inflammation back down,” he says.

6 p.m.

At home, Mack refuels again with one of his mother’s home-cooked meals like spaghetti or Shephard’s pie. “I don’t know what I’m gonna do when I go back to Oakland,” he says. And to satisfy his sweet tooth any time of the day, he always reaches for the same treat—Snickers Peanut Butter candy bars. “I eat so many it has to be bad,” Mack says.

8 p.m.

To rejuvenate his body and reduce muscle soreness, Mack sits in a warm Epsom salt bath for 15 minutes when he’s away from the cold tubs at the Oakland facility. “I know training camp is going to be tough so I don’t want to go in already beaten up,” he says. “I want to be in the best shape possible.”